Our first full day in Inverness was spent driving around Loch Ness, seeing the sights.
In spite of the fact that the loch seemed super calm, it must not have been Nessie Weather because one sight we did not spy was a sea monster. Instead our first stop of the day was the Loch Ness Exhibition & Centre, where we learned a bit about the history of the sightings of and hunt for Nessie.
I found this stop to be a bit of a disappointment. The exhibition was a series of six rooms with a video playing in each that discussed the various legends, sightings, searches, etc. It’s not that is was poorly done; it’s that we basically paid 7 pounds each to watch a 30-minute documentary. And still no Nessie at the end!
We had deliberately avoided Nessieland, but I wonder if we wouldn’t have enjoyed that more. . .
Afterwards, we drove a bit further along the loch and spent a few hours at Urquhart Castle.
This was beautiful and interesting, and is where we spent the majority of our day. We got there just after the passengers of a cruise ship arrived, unfortunately, so our first few minutes were spent amidst a sea of numbered-sticker-wearing herds, but we spent so much time there that the crowds eventually thinned out.
One thing I’ve definitely noticed here is the number of places we are able to go that would be considered too dangerous in the U.S. Over the last week, we have gone up and down a large number of steep, small-stepped, and narrow stone spiral staircases in castles and abbeys, and there hasn’t been so much as a “go at your own risk” sign. Understanding that Medieval people were smaller than we are, I still had to wonder, as I carefully made my way down a particularly narrow staircase today, how many poor servants lost their lives as they carried loads up and down these same stairs, tripping, falling, and hitting their heads. I’m sure there are no songs sung of these people, but I don’t doubt it happened.
Having “done the castle” we continued along the loch, stopping for lunch in Fort Augustus. There wasn’t much there, but we did see the Caledonian Canal in action as a few boats stair-stepped their way to Loch Ness.
Our last stop of the day was the Falls of Foyers; however, leaving Fort Augustus, we made a wrong turn, and ended up going on a rather major detour. At varying times along the drive, Steve and I both questioned where we were, but something kept convincing (mainly) me (as navigator) that we were where we were supposed to be. It wasn’t until we were exactly at the halfway point in our detour that we realized we were on a loop through Glen Moriston and were headed back to Fort Augustus. With no point turning back, we continued on and added a full hour to our driving time.
On the bright side, we had some lovely views and got to see both Loch Garry and Loch Loyne along the way.
Finally at the Falls of Foyers, we headed down the trail to take the requisite pretty waterfall photos.
Tonight I need to spend a bit of time reviewing our agenda for the morrow. I have come to realize that I may have been more ambitious than usual with the plan for tomorrow, and need to reconsider and prioritize our stops. . .